Can Apps Improve Mental Health?
What can you do when you aren’t able to afford therapy but are struggling to cope with your mental illness alone? In recent years, there has been a plentiful amount of mental health apps available to smartphone users. Many times these apps are free, or reasonably-priced, but offer an array of resources that make therapeutic support more accessible, cost-effective, and portable.
Within minutes, one can search and download a myriad of apps that incorporate proven techniques to help mental health issues such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). Everything from eating disorder recovery to depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and more are addressed.
While a large majority of these apps do not have enough research to support their claims, many health experts predict that they will play a very important role in the future of mental health care. The goal of these apps is to provide innovative and constant solutions for the self-management of mental health disorders. Currently, researchers are working on guidelines for mental health apps, while the American Psychiatric Association has developed an app rating system to help clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and other clinicians assess the efficacy and risks of online and mobile applications.
Can Mental Health Apps Be the End of Therapy?
Sal Raichbach, PsyD, LCSW believes that mental health apps do have the potential to reach those individuals who may not seek help by removing the barriers to treatment.
“Sadly, only a small percentage of people actively seek professional help for their mental health problems,” he says. “This could be for any number of reasons: they may not be physically able to leave their homes due to severe anxiety or lack of mobility, or they may not have the financial means.”
Another reason why smartphone-based apps are appealing is their anonymity. “The apps also allow for privacy and confidentiality and can be a safe space for individuals who may be too ashamed to admit their mental health issues in person or who may feel that they will be negatively labeled or stigmatized by others,” Dr. Raichback explains. “The privacy of using an app gives some individuals the feeling of separation they need while still being able to find answers to their questions within the comfort of their own homes.”
So, what exactly does a mental health app need to be of real value to those who are struggling? According to Dr. Raichbach, “the ideal app will also have mental health practitioners onboard, ready to answer questions, plus a 24/7 support hotline for more severe cases.”
While ideally these digital tools would be used as a supplemental treatment to traditional therapy, those who are not able to access a mental health practitioner can benefit greatly from these applications. Mental health apps offer not only valuable support, but guidance.
Investing In Mobile App Development
With technology advancing every single day, making a mobile presence is imperative. With future exploration and development, mental health apps can become a powerful tool to improve one’s well-being and help those who are struggling. Digital transformation is shaping the future for every individual, and building a feature-rich application with the help of a skilled team of developers and designers can take your idea to new heights.
Contact The App Bros to help turn your iOS and Android app dreams into reality.